Untangling Legacy Systems with an Eye Toward Growth
To grow revenue, do more with less, and meet the needs of its client base, Belga, Belgium’s leading news agency, faced a dilemma familiar to many in the news business: wade warily ahead with an outdated content management system, or invest in building a new one nimble enough to power the newsroom of the future. But neither option appealed. The former meant relying on inefficient tech, while the latter would mean spending scarce time, money, and resources to build something in-house. Belga sought a better approach: open-source software.
That's when Belga found Superdesk. After conversations with current users, and scoping exercises to determine their own requirements, Belga opted to join a growing network of media organisations powering their operations with the award-winning headless CMS solution. Doing so gave them access to insights and lessons-learned, which made the technological overhaul more manageable.
“To evolve and to prepare for the newsroom of the future, our old CMS was way too limited. Looking at it from a technical point of view, it would have taken an immense amount of time and resources to rebuild it, which I would say had no additional immediate value for our turnover.”Tom Wuytack CIO of Belga
A key factor in selecting Superdesk was the ability to consolidate workflow modules into a single operating system — allowing the news agency to set assignments, monitor coverage, produce content, and manage distribution from one interface accessible to the entire agency. This centralisation has enabled faster collaboration between IT support staff, journalists, and editors both inside and outside the newsroom, a requirement that the Covid-19 pandemic made essential. Put simply, Superdesk has helped Belga produce and deliver improved content with fewer resources — doing more with less.
Even before the new digital newsroom system was functioning, Belga was reaping tangible benefits from transitioning to Superdesk. For example, because Belga’s leadership did not need to invest significant time and resources into implementing a proprietary CMS or rebuilding their own, IT staff were able to focus on building revenue-generating projects. One such project created during Superdesk’s implementation was Belga.press, a brand new media monitoring service that delivers Belgian and international news to clients in real time.
The benefits were also visible during the delayed implementation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because Superdesk is co-developed by every newsroom that uses it, Sourcefabric and Belga took advantage of the extra time to bring additional features to Belga’s instance, including a new MasterDesk, which gives newsroom managers an overview of all content in production; a video editing tool; and keycloak integration, an open-source single sign-on identity and access management solution that enhances security and access to the Superdesk suite of software.
Finally, Superdesk helped Belga enhance its newsroom workflows. By centralising the production, management, and distribution of news content into a single system, Belga eliminated duplicate modules and delivered custom content quickly and seamlessly — efficiency gains that were elusive with its former CMS.
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"Superdesk solves quite a lot of the bottlenecks that we had. It will allow us to eliminate some current modules and just bring it back to one single system that will further evolve, in part because many other news agencies are already using it." Tom Wuytack — CIO of Belga.